Cruising is the greatest experience in the world! OK, so that's dramatic, but after the enjoyable time we had on the Celebrity Infinity, they really did their best to prove me right. I'll be hard pressed to find any con's in my list of pro's and con's, but I'll come up with something. To describe ourselves, we are both holding onto our 40's (tightly), have no children, and this was our 25th cruise overall, the eighth with Celebrity.
PRE-CRUISE: We arrived in Seattle on Thursday night for the Friday sail away and stayed at the Sleep Inn near Sea-Tac airport. They offer a free shuttle from the airport to the hotel. The hotel itself was very nice, and highly rated by users of Trip Advisor, which is why we chose it. Great rate, decent breakfast, and it's right next to an IHOP. The only downside is that there isn't much else nearby (walking distance), but if you need to run to a convenience store, they offer their shuttle for that too. Great place!
EMBARKATION: Not bad but not great, and not Celebrity's fault. Since we live in SW-FLA, we've been spoiled by taking many cruises that leave from Ft. Lauderdale or Miami. At both ports, there are about as many porters as there are cruisers, making embarkation pretty smooth. In Seattle, not so much. Actually, I'm not sure if there were many at all. That made things hectic for embarkation. We arrived at the port early (11-ish) and actually had to wait to board the ship (11:45), but getting checked in was quite smooth.
PUBLIC ROOMS: The Celebrity Infinity has just come from a refurbishment, and from what we experienced, it was a job well done. While there are remnants of the old Infinity, the new one is awesome. Some of the highpoints include scaling the size of the Constellation Lounge down, which I thought was way too big before. The space that was eliminated is now occupied by some of the kid's entertainment options. All in all, I really can't find too much to rate since the entire ship had excellent public areas. Bistro on 5, Cellar Masters, and especially Qsine are welcome additions.
CABIN: We were in an aft cabin, 7208, and our first aft in 25 cruises. The new appointments to the cabin are again quite welcomed, but there were some small drawbacks. First, our balcony was dirty. It looked like it could have benefitted from a power washing. Still, it was a great place to see the sights of Alaska. Also, our bathroom had a weird smell to it. It wasn't a sewerage smell, more a tar-like smell. We didn't complain about it, so I guess we either got used to it or it eventually went away. The bed was nice and comfy and the storage in the room was adequate.
DINING: While our experience in the dining room last fall on the Summit was not that great, this cruise more than made up for it. Everything in the main dining room was delicious. Though my wife missed the escargot (they need to bring that back), the food was tremendous. The buffet was what we expected and more. I particularly like the international dishes that are offered at lunchtime. I especially liked the beef and curry dish. I had that several times during the week. We have to give a special nod to Qsine which was just beyond awesome. I was mad at myself that I couldn't eat more food. We both love creative dishes, and everything we sampled was over the top creative. HIGH marks to the culinary team at Celebrity for the concept. We did not eat at any of the other restaurants on board, but I'm sure they were awesome as well.
FAMILY & CHILDREN: Can't help you there since we do not have kids.
SPA & FITNESS: No clue as we didn't use the spa and as for fitness, not when I'm cruising! I'll work out when I get back, thank you!
ENTERTAINMENT: This cruise we didn't attend any of the production shows, but were quite pleased with all of the other entertainment. The comedian, Fred Klett, was probably the absolute best we've ever seen on any cruise ship. Clean and very humorous. The magician was also quite good. The music around the ship was also top notch, with special credit going to the acapella group 565 Express. We also liked Rob the guitarist.
SERVICE: Celebrity always gets high marks from us on this one. Ti-anne Auer (Captain's Club hostess) was such a joy, as were the guest relations people. As usual, the employees always meet your gaze with a smile and a hello. That never gets old. Sorry, but none of the other lines we've sailed (five) even come close.
ITINERARIES: A bumpy day at sea was followed by Ketchikan, Tracy Arm, Juneau, Skagway, another day at sea, and an evening stop in Victoria, BC. We did the rainforest tour in Ketchikan that was just ok. Lots of nature to see, but with a guide that talked so much that it would have scared any wildlife away. Tracy Arm is just magnificent, and the visit to Mendenhall Glacier was magnificent. The musher's camp visit in Skagway was a blast, and we followed that with the train ride, which is a must. SUGGESTION: if you do the train ride, make sure you sit on the left because that is where everything is on the way up. Finally, much has been said about the short stop in BC, but it is what you make it. We didn't bother, but many people did and enjoyed their brief visit.
OTHER OBSERVATION: If you're not going to go to the Cruise Critic Meet 'n Mingle, don't sign up for it. We didn't have as many as were signed up and that was disappointing.
DEBARKATION: Same as embarkation, smooth but in need of more porters.
POST-CRUISE: Since we got off the ship on a Friday, we chose to stay at the "W" in downtown Seattle. Very chic place and comes with outstanding customer service. Cab ride from the hotel to the airport is a flat $32 which really isn't too bad.
All in all, talk about a home run. This was a great cruise in many respects, and of course, we're booked on two more upcoming Celebrity cruises. They're still number one in our book.